While dreadful, documentation, as well as other logistical and administrative matters, are unavoidable when doing business. Here are some government agencies in Singapore that you should be familiar with as an SME owner to make the administrative process a breeze.
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
Given that every registered business on our sunny island is done through ACRA, this agency is a definite must-know. A national regulator of business entities, public accountants and corporate service providers in Singapore, ACRA aims to provide good corporate governance as well as high-quality financial reporting and audit. On their website, there are various useful guides on how to prepare financial statements, file financial statements, file annual returns, strike off a local company, and more.
More often than not, the first contact that business owners have with ACRA would be through BizFile+, ACRA’s online filing and information retrieval system. BizFile+ has more than 400 electronic services to help business owners with their submission of statutory documents and more.
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
As a business owner, you absolutely need to know about IRAS, the main tax administrator for the Singapore government. You are likely to be in contact with IRAS for all tax matters ranging from corporate tax to goods and services tax (GST).
The agency also provides a comprehensive range of useful tax guides so that you can educate yourself on tax matters such as what are the taxable income and deductible expenses for a company, when to apply for GST registration, how to report your employees’ earnings, just to name a few.
In April 2018, International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING came together to form Enterprise Singapore. This agency supports companies to build capabilities, innovate, and internationalise. Startups, SMEs, and high-growth companies can all stand to benefit.
Information on financial assistance such as grants, loans and insurance, tax incentives are all available on their site. For instance, the Startup SG Tech grant is listed as an early-stage funding option to fast-track the commercialisation of scalable in-house solutions. Local companies can also look at the Enterprise Development Grant to support business upgrade, innovation, and overseas venture.
In addition, non-financial assistance is also available. Singapore companies can explore the range of business toolkits, while foreign companies can find useful resources on the site, such as information on Free Trade Agreement.
Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
MOM handles a multitude of things relating to employment. If you want to find out more on applying for work passes and permits, workplace safety and health, or employment practices, this is the place to go to. In addition, MOM also provides useful labour market information on unemployment, income and more which can be useful when conducting market researches. After accessing their homepage, there is even a short virtual tour to guide you on how to navigate around the site.
Central Provident Fund Board (CPF)
CPF is a social security system that helps Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PR) who are working to set aside funds for retirement. On top of that, it also helps to address home ownership, healthcare, asset enhancement and more.
As an employer, you will need to make CPF contributions to your employee based on the rate prescribed by the CPF Board. Under the employer guide, you can also find a wealth of information regarding company set up, hiring matters such as Foreign Worker Levy, compliance, and more.
We hope that the list of government agencies listed above will come in handy when you are setting up or expanding your company. Be sure to explore the wealth of readily accessible information online to tap on as many resources as possible to further improve your business processes.